I didn’t realize it then, but when I was in high school, I was somehow crazy productive.
I sometimes look back and wonder how I fit everything all in.
I did basketball, volleyball, 2-a-days, school, advanced classes, honors society, music, and friends – all at once. And I still had free time to jack around – despite having a large part of my schedule dictated for me.
Of course now, I have much greater control over my day. I can control ~100% of what I do, all day, every day.
Often, I find myself saying (to no-one in particular) that “there’s not enough time.” Sometimes that works as an excuse for me – but I know that I certainly have no more time than I did last week, last year, or than I did back in high school. If anything, I have way more time now than I ever have had before.
But as I look back on my 16-year-old self, I realized the quantity of time wasn’t the issue, but rather the quality of it. It’s more about how I used that time, than the sheer quantity of the time, that ultimately determines what gets done.
So I sat down, poured myself a bit too much coffee and looked at the (surprisingly good) habits I picked up as a 16 year old; 16-year-old Joel had some good things to say and I’ll be taking some of his wise advice 🙂
Make Your Lunch The Night Before
Strangely enough, this might be the most important tip in all of this.
Packing your lunch the night before is a good ritual. It helps you wind down for the evening and gets your body mentally ready to fall asleep, so the rest of the week can go according to plan.
Otherwise, your mind will wander and you’ll stay up all night.
Get In Bed By Midnight
You can stay up as late as you want, as long as you’re in bed by midnight.
If you’re in bed by midnight, you’ll have no problem getting up at 5:30 or 6. If you’re in bed at 1am, you’ll sleep till noon.
2am on weekends is okay, unless you have a game or practice in the morning.
Get Your Workouts Done Early
I’m in the gym every morning at 6am working on my jumper – you can get a basic 2–3 mile run in every morning. It will wake you up and get you started for the day.
Take a Cold Shower In The Morning
It will feel better after a workout and make sure that you’re really, actually up (and not just sleep walking).
Besides, the school showers don’t have a “hot” setting.
When School / Work Is Over, Leave
Don’t stay at work longer than you have to. I don’t stay at school longer than I have to. It’s practically a race out the doors.
You’re not doing anyone any favors, by pulling an all-nighter and staying at work.
If I did that at school, that wouldn’t be cool, and I’d probably get arrested.
Do Strength Work When You’re Done With The Day
There’s no better way to let go of the stress of the day than to hash it out with the weights.
You’ll get your workout in and eliminate the back & forth.
And then you get to eat as much as you want when you get home.
Be Direct With Your Action
You waste the most time when you don’t really have to be anywhere at anytime, or have a specific purpose in mind.
If you’re going to work, go do it.
If you’re going to lift, go do it.
If you’re going to relax, do it.
Whatever it is, be intentional and be direct about it.
Don’t wobble about it.
Schedules Make Things Real
Put hard deadlines on things you want to happen.
Practice? Write it in.
Hanging out? Know when your free time is (schedule it).
It sounds annoying, but the more things you have in the schedule and the stricter the times, the more efficient you’ll be (and the more you’ll do).
Bonus: make sure you have people at each place who will hold you accountable. Show up late and you’ll be running suicides.
15 Minutes Early Is On Time
Coach will drill this into you. 5 minutes early is late and means sprints.
Be there early, or your teammates will not be happy.
When you can, take responsibility for something.
Sure, it “looks” good, but more importantly the re puts you in charge so you can change or fix something if it needs to happen.
Interestingly enough, the more you take on, the more ability you have to delegate, which means you can delegate yourself out of a job.
Don’t Be Afraid of the “Advanced” Subjects or Projects
They’re really not that hard and will help you at the next stage of things.
If you think something might be too tough. Take it on. You’ll figure it out.
Run Your Own Business
Even if it’s a part time job on the weekends, mowing lawns, get a job and keep it up.
With teachers, coaches, games, and classes not always going how you want, you need need to be able to control a little bit of your own destiny.
Do It With Friends
Anything you do with friends will be 2x as much fun and will have 1/2 the stress than if you do it alone.
Even AP Physics can be fun – if you’re with the right people.